Dry ice overclocker gets RAM up to 2,906MHz

While G.Skill is boasting about its latest DDR3 memory hitting 2,500MHz, the extreme overclocking community has demonstrated just how far you can push 4GB of DDR3 memory if you’re prepared for a bit of adventure.

Over on the Xtreme Systems forums, a plucky overclocker named matose decided to see just how far you could increase the clock speed of a 4GB (2x 2GB) kit of Corsair CMGTX1 memory if you pushed it to its limit.

This meant chucking Intel’s recommended voltage setting of 1.65V out of the window, but it also meant cooling the memory with dry ice. The Core i7 870 test CPU also got the dry ice treatment, so that the CPU’s integrated memory controller could remain cool under pressure.

After several experiments with voltage, matose found that the clock speed couldn’t be pushed much further once you hit 1.77V, but found that the extra cooling enabled the clock speed to be increased further. As well as this, increasing the tRCD (row address to column address delay) to 13, also apparently enabled the memory clock speed to be pushed further.

After trying several settings, the best result was a phenomenal memory clock speed of 2,906MHz (1,453MHz x2) with latency timings of 10-13-10-30. Don’t believe us? Then check out the CPU-Z validation here.

Although your average punter obviously doesn’t have easy access to a dry ice truck, these results do demonstrate that the standard ratings from memory manufacturers are extremely conservative, even when it comes to premium overclockers’ memory. Corsair’s CMGTX1 memory is only officially rated to run at 2,400MHz, or 2,333MHz with Intel XMP qualification.

Of course, it doesn’t help that memory manufacturers can’t push the standard specified voltage beyond 1.65V, as Intel recommends that as the maximum that its CPUs with integrated memory controllers can handle. Even so, it’s clear that DDR3 memory is quite capable of being clocked much higher with the right setup.

Believe it or not, the experiment didn’t kill the memory either. “The sticks still work without any problem,” said matose, “they don't die that easily.”

We’re now waiting for someone to hit the 3GHz memory record - bring on the liquid nitrogen!